Tuesday, 29 January 2013

West Berkshire Foster Parenting Association -table top sale Saturday, 9th March

I got a call out of the blue from someone from the West Berkshire Foster Parenting Association this week, inviting me to sell at their forthcoming table top sale at the Acland Hall, Cold Ash on Saturday, 9th March from 10am to 3pm.

Apparently a whole year has passed since we sold at the last one, so I was quite touched that they kept the numbers of the previous sellers and invited them to book first!

I am opening an antiques stall this Friday but there's still plenty of things that will be be for sale on the 9th. Sod that, we're trying to move - I'll be virtually giving it away!

See you then!

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Just a quickie - the McBaby vomited all over the car when we were en route to the East Garston swap shop, so the two bags of goodies went to the RSPCA shop instead.

Lots of brand new drinking glasses, some books and some other bits and bobs. We have stepped up our decluttering, so they'll be lots more posts like this!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Children 1st West Berkshire

MrM asked me to post the below onto his charity FB page but I forgot the photo, so thought it was worth posting again here:

Volunteers are the heartbeat of any charity and at the moment Children 1st West Berkshire is looking for a Trustee Treasurer, Trustee Secretary and people to help wih the maintenance of Cornerstone - the supported accommodation for foster care leavers and other vulnerable young adults in the district. The charity, which was supported by Greenham Common Trust who purchased the house for them to convert into living accommdation for care leavers, also needs volunteers to help with their young people. So if you are interested in providing more specialist support or can help with fundraising and advertising activities please contact info at children1stwestberkshire.co.uk

Friday, 25 January 2013

Alzheimer's Society

I moan and moan about living in Newbury but today the McBaby and I saw the best of the town's people and were pleasantly surprised by how generous people were.

We were collecting today outside the supermarket in aid of the Alzheimer's Society and were lucky enough to be alongside some lovely ladies; Sheila, Caroline and Sophia.

Our slot passed by very quickly. My only question is: Why does the McBaby look drunk in this pic....

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Alzheimer's Society - collection at Tesco on London Road

The McBaby and I are collecting tomorrow lunchtime (Friday). Come and say hello as we're sure the time will drag!

#KindnessChallenge Day 12: Forgive Someone‏

I am way behind with this challenge, but I am notorious for never forgiving people! In fact, MrM laughed at me just yesterday because I frequently say that I will never forgive people unless they say sorry or seven years pass.

He reminded me that there is a couple that he has known for a long time and when MrM and I got together, he wanted me to meet them. They were horrendously rude that day - barely acknowledging my presence and then speaking to me V-E-R-Y slowly lest I didn'[t speak English. (I do since I was born in the UK and in fact, my English is better than theirs). I had desperately wanted to make a good impression and felt extremely let down by the experience. They've been the same ever since, and I am hardly minded to be friendly to them.

Seven years elapsed last year and then Mrs Self-Absorbed managed to annoy me again, prompting MrM to roll his eyes and say "so you're now going to hold your grudge for ANOTHER seven years?"

I am quite aware that I am being ludicrous but at the same time, I find it hard to forgive as it seems sometimes to be an admission that the other person has "won". But if I spend time and energy getting annoyed, then they have won, haven't they? It's far easier to be the bigger man and simply forgive and treat people well, whatever they say and do.

So, Celestine from the challenge says:

"Forgive one person
1.Identify a person whom you resent or bear grievances towards. The grievance can be over one small action he/she did or something serious (such as breaking a promise or cheating on you).
2.Why do you bear grievances towards him/her? Write down the reasons on a piece of paper, for your personal reflection.
3.Work on letting go of these grievances today."

This has worked an absolute treat. Writing down the grievances such as "they were rude to me on my wedding day" makes me sound ridiculous. Just let it go already!

And just why does being self-absorbed annoy me so much? What it is about that behaviour that irritates me so much? Does it point to something about my own behaviour and personality that needs to be changed?"

Also, just let go! It's so time-consuming and stupid to be angry all the time. I highly recommend letting things go and in fact, I'm going to ask MrM if he wants to invite them over for lunch.

Wish me luck!!

The Willows Primary School

Three cakes; one uncooked, one with a hair in it and the other given away to an elderly gent (£1). Some soap won on the tombola (£1). Two books bought - 30 walks in Berkshire and IQ84(£1). One child accidentally signed up to the forthcoming Willows pre-school. One almighty sigh from me when a child brought me the "visitor's book" (sic) and asked me to read what "ovver people had wrote in it". Some lovely singing from the children from the school which distracted the McBaby from the naughty endeavour he was about to launch into.

Such was our experience at the St Nics coffee morning in aid of the Willows.

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Kindness Challenge - day 11. Be kind to someone you dislike

Weeks behind, but here's my post on the Kindness Challenge day 11 Be kind to someone you dislike. which was a toughie!

Generally, I'm fairly easy-going (fairly, not very!) but if I've lacked sleep than I can dislike just about everyone! These are some of the things that annoyed me the other day:

People driving past my house while speeding, people driving past my house while playing their bass loud, people ignoring me when I've stopped to let them past, people blowing smoke in my face, people talking loudly on their phones, people texting while they're driving. You get the picture. But there's one person who just drives me bonkers. Not once have our paths crossed when he hasn't said something so annoying that it's made me want to weep or uttered something so calculated to press my buttons that I swear he's doing it on purpose.

Why was he annoying me so much? I asked a couple of other people who confirmed that this person is quite irritating. But I've been pondering - does the fact I get so annoyed reflect something in my own personality? Also, does the fact that I tell myself he is GOING to annoy me put me in a certain frame of mind which makes him want to hurt my feelings?

Anyway, I decided to be nicer and more laidback. We met last weekend and I did very well until he sat down at the table and decided that bath hoists and child benefit would be good topics of conversation, before slagging someone off for being nosey after she had asked him why he wrote to the council to tell them to refuse her planning application. On previous occasions, he has asked me how much I earn, told me not to have more children because "the world is already overpopulated" and asked how "that job malarkey of yours is going".

I needed back-up!

I referred to Paul McKenna's book Change your life in seven days which refers to "putting relationships into perspective".

He suggests:

1. Remember how you feel when you're in conflict with this person. Hear you internal dialogue. Then float up out of yourself and let your feelings go.

2. Now float into the shoes of the person you dislike. What does it feel like to be in their shoes?

3. Now think of someone whose intelligence you admire. Imagine being in their shoes and watching the interaction. What would they think as a neutral observer?

4. Take what you've learned and step back into your own shoes. Look at the person you have a problem with and choose one thing to bring about a resolution.

This is incredibly helpful as I know that the person I mentioned brings out the worst in me and reminds me not to "wrestle with a pig in mud".

There's a lot of work to be done, but this has proved to be one of the most useful days of the Kindness Challenge. Hopefully this explains why I've spent quite so long on it!


Friends of the Charles Clore unit

Meet this little chap from Toy Story!

A lovely lady called Norma won him at Thursday morning's tombola in aid of the Charles Clore unit and decided it would be more use to the McBaby than her. I queued up for ages (despite being the only person in the queue) and handed over my £2 for 3 goes but had no luck. I also bought a slice of Victoria Sponge - most of which got stolen by the McBaby who also pilfered someone else's lemon drizzle.

The Friends of the Charles Clore unit raises money for local cancer sufferers and helps with social events and outings for the patients, including days out on canal boats and to the seaside.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Save the Children

Dear Save the Children

I brought in a bag of donations today including banners for 21st/30th birthday parties, a book on how to lose weight (perfect for this time of year) and a brand new calculator. The reason I left the bag by the door was that I was so embarrassed by my last donation of a box of Buckaroo.

I bought it so that we could play it over CHristmas instead of watching bad TV. However, the pieces were a bit small for the McBaby so I donated the box to your Newbury branch. Except the next time I did a load of washing I found that the McBaby had stowed one of the pieces in there. I then tried to bring the piece in to match with the box, but it was nowhere to be found.

Sorry for wasting the time of your volunteer. I can't help but feel I was a hindrance rather than a help.

Kind regards


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Njojone project

Are we allowed back into the church hall after last week's screaming?

Today's coffee morning was a tombola rather than a jumble sale, so we dipped in and won two boxes of chocolates. That's tonight's dinner sorted and we helped raise money for five local lads to travel to Swaziland to help build a school.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bits and bobs

I dragged four members of my family with me when I hit the charity shops of Sherborne last week, including Oxfam which I have never left empty-handed.

This visit was no exception as I came out laden with birthday cards and pre-printed thank you letters, in addition to a couple of vintage books!

I feel I should mention the Oxfam shop's near neighbour Joseph Weld which was brimming with stock and customers. There were two fabulous dresses in the window which one of my relatives decided were perfect for me, so she went in to find out the size and price. One of the volunteers dutifully clambered into the display and mimed through the window the size and price, before hitching up the leg suggestively and provocatively suggesting that MrM should buy them for me. She did make us laugh!

Back to Newbury and I went to my first jumble sale of 2013 which was in aid of Wicked Genes I bought a piece of cake and was served a piece that was half the size of the rest, but guess they looked at my expanding waistline and decided it was healthiest. I also bought a picnic hamper -

hopefully there will be an opportunity to use it in 2013 - the weather can't be worse than last year, can it?

We had to leave the event in a mad rush as the Mcbaby suddenly started screaming. And I mean screaming. I've never heard anything like it and judging by the number of looks shot our way, neither had anyone else. He was fine once we left!

Kindness Challenge Day 10: Send Flowers to Someone

I hit a snag in the 14 day kindness challenge when I could not for the life of me think of anyone to send flowers to! I did have a couple of contenders but for one reason and another, thought that sending flowers might add to their woes.

So well into January, I finally got round to it and sent some flowers MrM's mum as she needed cheering up. I happened to be there when they were delivered and was bemused to hear her say that she thought they must be from her other son or her nephew before exclaiming that she was impressed that the McBaby had the motor skills to order things online!

Flowers. Aren’t they a beautiful creation of nature?

I think flowers are such a wonderful gift to mankind. And I think that it’s such a joy to receive flowers and to give others flowers.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Cancer Research UK

Sadly, MrM's great aunt died just before Christmas and it was her funeral a couple of days ago. The family asked for donations to Cancer Research UK. Before you think, how terrible that she died of cancer, I'll just interject to say that she didn't! She died very peacefully in her sleep at the grand old age of 102!

Born in 1910, she had a lovely life as a farm hand and had a big family with lots of happy times.

The McBaby and I were hoping to join MrM at the funeral, but the little one has not been at all well over Christmas and I decided that it probably wouldn't be terribly respectful if he vomited at the funeral, so we stayed at home, going out only for a short spell of fresh air and to donate some books and clothes to the Cancer Research shop in town.